Throughout the summer, Nole Nation will be counting down the 40 players we're projecting to make the biggest impact on the Seminoles' 2013 season, taking into consideration everything from experience to potential to their spot on the current depth chart.
Next up: No. 36 Terrance Smith
Position/Class: Linebacker/redshirt sophomore
What he's done: After a medical redshirt in 2011 following just two games, Smith finally got a bigger taste of the action last season, but his role was still extremely limited. For the year, Smith appeared in 13 games, but he recorded just nine tackles (1.5 for a loss), with the bulk of his work coming on special teams. Still, he excelled in his limited opportunities, and that turned enough heads to earn him a longer look at a bigger job this spring.
Where he's at: Atop the depth chart at linebacker, FSU has two established starters in seniors Telvin Smith and Christian Jones. Beyond that, however, there's a vast array of candidates (FSU has signed seven linebackers in the past two years) with ample talent but virtually no experience. Smith's 15 career games (and 10 career tackles) put him at the front of the pack when it comes to playing time, but it doesn't assure him of much in 2013. He spent the bulk of the spring working with the first-team defense on the strong side, but even that's a precarious situation, given the numerous 3-4, nickel and dime packages FSU figures to use and the bevy of potential alternatives for the job.
What's to come: At 6-4, 214 pounds, Smith isn't exactly the prototype for the Sam linebacker spot, but he has continued to add good weight and make impressive progress through two years in the system. But even if he establishes himself as the clear No. 1 at his position, the snaps might be limited. Last year's starter, Nick Moody, was good enough to get drafted, but he was still on the field for just a fraction of FSU's defensive snaps last fall. What is perhaps more important is that when Smith does see work, he makes the most of it. In 2014, Jones and Telvin Smith, and Terrance Smith will become the veterans of the unit.